5:18 pm - Friday June 14, 0897

[A year ago] Ethiopia arrested Oromo leader Merera Gudina, still behind bars (Africanews)

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

On Thursday December 1, 2016; authorities in Ethiopia arrested a leading opposition figure Merera Gudina. A year on, he remains in jail facing multiple criminal charges downgraded from an earlier charge of terrorism.

Gudina was arrested at his home as he returned from a trip to Europe, during which time he addressed the European Parliament on political events back home. He is an ardent critic of the government crackdown on protesters in Amhara and Oromia regions/

At the time, he was said to have violated the country’s state of emergency by having contact with persons the government had branded ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-peace’ elements. The state of emergency of October 2016 was to quell spreading anti-government protests mainly in Oromo and Amhara regions.

Since his detention, the European parliament president, a group of United States senators, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the E.U. Foreign affairs chief and others have all called of his release and for the government to address political discontent in the East African country.

The last that was heard of Gudina’s case, he had unsuccessfully applied for bail but had asked to be granted visitation by his family and friends. He is leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC).

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